To Top

Meet Cynthia and Zenon Issel of SurfFur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia and Zenon Issel.

Cynthia and Zenon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Surf-fur is a creator and maker of quality waterproof clothing for waterman of every age. We’re obsessed with producing the perfect clothing to keep people warm and dry as they’re out pursuing their passion for various watersports.

We are a husband and wife team that are both obsessed with the ocean and all the many things you can do on, under and around the water. Zenon is an avid spear fisherman/free diver, surfer and boater. I’m an infatuated surfer who also enjoys free diving and likes boat rides. Together, we live in Southern California with our two water-minded children.

Getting in the water is a matter of sanity for our family. So, designing something that allows the waterman to stay out longer and enjoy the water was the primary objective.

We (Zenon and Cynthia) met while surfing one day and started our company several years later, on the beach when we were cold! Our goal was to make the warmest and most versatile blanket-type thing to bring to the beach to keep warm and change under after a session. It couldn’t look like a blanket or Mumu. And since we are rather low maintenance, we needed something that could wash and dry easily; something that would replace the down comforter that we were currently using to keep the shivers at bay until we made it into the water. We got together with a few of our ocean-minded friends and came up with a design that began our journey from beach bums into entrepreneurs.

We perfected the initial design over a couple of years of rigorous testing and began selling our “Waterparka” in 2007. The Waterparka is an essential piece of gear for any type of water sports athlete with its long design, roomy fit for changing under and its specially designed breathable, wind-proof and waterproof fleece. It’s a solid piece of gear for the non-stop activities that happen near the water. Who wants to slow down the fun by getting cold?

Has it been a smooth road?
During the busy season, inventory is our biggest problem. We run out of a different size every year so it’s hard to predict what to order. This past season was the first time we did not sell out of certain sizes before Christmas, so maybe we have the formula down. On our new style, the SurfCheck hoodie, we had an issue with our zipper heads bending and falling off. As it turned out, the factory put on an inferior zipper head that was not approved by us so they had to send all new heads and pay for four people to replace zipper heads on 1,500 hoodies. It was a mess, but now we have a solid zipper! Whenever we launch something new, it seems like we always have one big issue to resolve before we get to that perfect product. We had snap issues, toggle issues and zippers. It’s always a challenge to make sure the factory isn’t cutting corners and keeping the quality high.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with SurfFur – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our Waterparka is the only one of its kind on the market. We have the only one layer, breathable parka that has the special changing pockets hidden inside for changing discretely on the beach or the boat. You can even hang out totally nude under it for several minutes (or hours) and no one would even know. But, it wasn’t really made for that.

It was made to change under, wear in between dives to rewarm your body, block the wind, protect your car seats so you can shower off at home or throw on for protection moving from one dive/surf spot to another. And it dries quickly so you can use it all day long. No other parka on the market can make that claim!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Well, of course we love the beach and being close to the ocean the most!! But, we also love the fact that things are so laid back and anything goes here. Seeing someone walking around with a huge parrot on their shoulder then turning the corner and seeing another person giving away free hugs is normal. But the traffic has really been getting bad around here. I read those old surf memoirs about the pioneers who would go from Swami’s to Malibu in one day to surf both spots. That would never happen anymore!


  • Waterparkas $149
  • SurfCheck hoodies $90
  • Seavibes Waterparkas $120

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 858-752-4580
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @surffur
  • Facebook: surffur
  • Twitter: surffur

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • San Diego’s Most Inspiring Stories

    The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks,...

    Local StoriesMarch 27, 2023
  • Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

    Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a...

    Local StoriesMarch 20, 2023
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Partners SeriesMarch 16, 2023
  • Fashion, Selling Online, Charity & Nonprofits

    SDVoyager Podcast Episode 5 We’ve got some incredible guests on on the podcast today.  Lindsey Radoff, Sybil Golin and Madison Pollard...

    Partners SeriesFebruary 15, 2023
  • Portraits of San Diego

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesJanuary 13, 2023
  • SDVoyager Holiday Guide

    Discover truly unique gift ideas that will leave your friends and family smiling all season through our Holiday Gift Guide below....

    Local StoriesDecember 8, 2022
  • San Diego’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in San Diego has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what...

    Local StoriesNovember 8, 2021
  • The Folks Solving The Problems You Need Solved

    One of the most important benefits of a thriving small business ecosystem is the myriad of problems and niche issues that...

    Local StoriesOctober 31, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesOctober 11, 2021